Effort and rest. A union of the two.

Last week was our first week of school for the 2013-2014 school year.  I will say that it was the hardest “first week of school” we’ve ever had.  It hasn’t been a bad week, necessarily, just not the best.

I am okay with admitting that because this is our family journal and I want to document things as they are.  Sure, I do weed out the worst of the worst (most bloggers do) and share the best of the best (again, as most bloggers do).  My mama taught me that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  As a result of that good advice, I try to steer away from complaining for the sake of complaining.

We had a few bad attitudes, some tweens thinking they could rearrange the schedule to their own liking instead of how I had it set and quite a few brotherly sparring sessions that I could have done without.  (How annoying are four boys who are cooped up due to the heat?!?)  So to spare you the frustrating details, I’ll leave it at that.

One positive thing I accomplished is the 5:30 wake up call each morning that first week.  I managed to get out of bed and spend time in the Word before school every day.  In many ways I wish I could say that this fact made the week perfect, rosy, and easy.  It didn’t, but I don’t regret my early morning quiet time anyway.

Thursday’s quiet time was my favorite and I really want to share.

The problem last week was that I was less than patient with my boys.  (I could blame them right here for not being on their best behavior but I’ll avoid doing that… I am responsible for my behavior and my reactions to them.  My impatience is my fault, not theirs.) I started by reading Jesus Calling.  

Wear my robe of righteousness with ease.  I custom-made it for you, to cover you from head to toe.  The price I paid for this covering was astronomical – My own blood.  You could never purchase such a royal garment, no matter how hard you worked…. When your behavior is unfitting for one in My kingdom, do not try to throw off your royal robe. Instead, throw off the unrighteous behavior.  Then you will feel at ease in this glorious garnet, enjoying the gift I fashioned before the foundation of the world.”

After I read this, I wrote a question to the Lord:  “How does one wear Your robe of righteousness?”

It was a real question.  I really wanted an answer to this question.  I found the answers in the scriptures Sarah Young listed as references.  Isaiah 61:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21, and Ephesians 4:22-24.

1.  I am to delight in the Lord, rejoicing in my God.  He has given me salvation and “arrayed” me in a robe of righteousness.  I’m a word nut, and I don’t see “array” very often, so I looked it up in the dictionary to see the variety of meanings it had.  The definitions were fascinating:  a) to dress or decorate especially in splendid or impressive attire; b) to set or place in order; c) to arrange or display.  So God has put this robe on me, and I can delight in Him.  The robe is splendid and impressive.  And it is a gift.  Not something I could ever, ever earn.

2.  Recognize (repeatedly, because that’s necessary) that God made Jesus, who had no sin, to become sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)  That’s short and sweet, but it is the entire crux of my faith.

3.  Put off the old self, my old actions, reactions, habits, and attitudes.  I was taught, regarding my former way of life, to put off my old self, which is currently being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of my mind and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  (Ephesians 4:22-24)  This is really hard.  Anytime one has to change life-long habits, difficulty is sure to abound.

Next I read from God Calling, which happens to be a lot like Jesus Calling but much older (as in, copyright 1954).  It has the same concept: short, very specific words to the reader that often hit exactly where they need to.  Thursday’s said:

Come to me, talk to me, dwell with Me and then you will know My way is a sure way, My paths are safe paths.

Come very near to Me.

Dig deep down into the soil of the kingdom.  Effort and rest – a union of the two.

I found the last sentence to be so comforting.  Sure, I’m supposed to make an effort to draw near to God and to be obedient to His word, to do the best I can at raising my boys however, I am also instructed to rest.  It sit at his feet, to listen to his voice, to come so close to him that I will know that I’m on the right path.  A unification between effort and rest.  My life is not all effort.  My life is not all rest.  A union of the two is what is expected, and honestly, it’s doable.

When I read that Thursday morning I was thankful that God encouraged both.  He knew that my day would require effort.  That I would have work before me… cleaning, teaching, correcting, cooking, encouraging, disciplining.  But He reminded me before I faced those tasks that I was to also take rest.  I send the boys to their rooms for rest time each day, and this is good for them and good for me (not that I’ve ever questioned this fact).  It reminded me that after a period of effort (7:00 am-1:00 pm) I get a period of rest, a time to refreshen, to relax just a little while doing Rosetta Stone.  It reminded me that it’s a good idea to go to bed at a decent time, especially if I’m going to continue waking at 5:30 every weekday morning.  That rest is necessary for me to dig deeper in whatever I want to do. (Alright, any Insanity friends catching this reference?  EFFORT and rest?  DIG DEEPER!)

This week has been much better.  Still not rosy and perfect, but definitely much better.  I am thankful for air conditioning, the summer storm we had yesterday, and the chance to start again each morning with a clean slate with my family.  I am yearning for cooler temperatures the way the majority of my friends yearn for the end of winter.  I feel so backward from my friends because I’m always the grumpy one in the heat and sunshine.  I thrive once cooler temperatures come, when I can light harvesty candles, and display my fall decorations.  I don’t feel like I’m thriving right now.  I feel like I’m barely hanging on. This has started to get a little raw, and little complaining-y so I’ll close.  Effort and rest. The union of the two.  Not all effort.  Not all rest.  I got this.  (For in Christ, I can do all things.)

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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